Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

by John Dickerson
Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

by John Dickerson


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From Face the Nation moderator and contributing editor for The Atlantic John Dickerson come the stories behind the stories of the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. The battle of ideas has a clear end, with winners and losers, and along the way there are sharp turning points-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that squeeze candidates into emergency action, frantic grasping, and heroic gambles. As Mike Murphy the political strategist put it, "Campaigns are like war without bullets."

Whistlestop tells the human story of nervous gambits hatched in first-floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the cross-country crack-ups of long-planned stratagems. At the bar at the end of a campaign day, these are the stories reporters rehash for themselves and embellish for newcomers. In addition to the familiar tales, Whistlestop also remembers the forgotten stories about the bruising and reckless campaigns of the nineteenth century when the combatants believed the consequences included the fate of the republic itself. Some of the most modern-feeling elements of the American presidential campaign were born before the roads were paved and electric lights lit the convention halls-or there were convention halls at all.

Whistlestop is a ride through the American campaign history with one of its most enthusiastic conductors guiding you through the landmarks along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455540471
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 07/11/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Dickerson is Moderator of Face the Nation, Chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News, and a contributing editor for the Atlantic. He has been a reporter in Washington for almost 20 years covering the White House, Congress, and political campaigns. Dickerson is a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest as well as the host of Whistlestop, a podcast of campaign history.

Table of Contents

Timeline of U.S. Presidential Elections ix

Introduction xvii

Part I Inflection Points

1980-"I Am Paying for This Microphone, Mr. Green" 3

1960-The Catholic Candidate 14

Part II Comebacks

1948-Truman off the Cuff 35

1992-Till the Last Dog Dies 56

Part III Collapses

1988-Dukakis Tanks 71

1972-Vote for Muskie or He'll Cry 89

1972-Eighteen-Day Nightmare 107

2004-The Dean Scream 125

Part IV Gambits and Gambles

1964-Stop Goldwater 147

2000-The Straight Talk Express 167

Part V Too Close to Call

1976-Republicans Are People, Too 187

1952-Thou Shalt Not Steal 219

1824-The Corrupt Bargain 240

Part VI Tar and Feather

1800-Keep Your Attack Dog Fed 263

1884-Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa? 287

1884-Burn This Letter! 302

1840-The Birth of Umbrage 317

Part VII Crashing the Party

1980-A Cure for Malaise 343

1968-What Kind of a Nut Is George Wallace? 366

Acknowledgments 389

Notes 393

Bibliography 411

Index 425

About the Author 441

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